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MSPs Focused on Automation, Cybersecurity, Integration in 2023, Kaseya Survey Says

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What’s the at top of mind for managed service providers’ agendas for 2023? Automation was hailed as a crucial technology by 90% of MSPs that participated in Kaseya’s 2023 MSP Benchmark Report.

“It’s always been important. It’s become increasingly important,” Mike Puglia, Kaseya’s chief strategy officer and GM of security products, told ChannelE2E. There are two reasons why.

  1. There’s a perception that the market is tightening. If that’s the case, automation integration is where you drive your profits.
  2. The labor market is also tight. That means it makes less sense for organizations to hire for repetitive work that could be automated. Organizations will want to deploy their valuable human resources to more challenging higher value work.
Mike Puglia
Mike Puglia

Kaseya’s benchmark survey showed that 64% of executive respondents and 54% of technician respondents picked automation, including auto-remediation of tickets as their top RMM (remote monitoring and management) feature.

Puglia told ChannelE2E that Kaseya uses the data from this benchmark survey to help steer product and community directions at the company. This year's survey also provided insights on how MSPs are thinking about cybersecurity, integration, mergers and acquisitions, co-managed services, and plenty of other business and technology areas.

What about Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity is also at top of minds for MSPs in 2023. In a year-over-year comparison, there was a 15% jump in MSPs that chose cybersecurity as the top IT challenge their clients expect to face this year. About 65% of respondents said most or all of their clients have asked for cybersecurity advice.

The top five services that respondents intend to offer in 2023 fall under cybersecurity services. They include identity and access management, security awareness training, and Dark Web monitoring.

More MSPs are also now backing up their clients’ SaaS applications now, too. Those who backed up Microsoft 365, Google Workspace or Salesforce increased to 83% from 78% year over year.

Nearly a third of MSPs, 32%, said they evaluate their threat landscape monthly and 35% said they evaluated it quarterly. Only 11 percent evaluate it annually. And just 1% said they never evaluate it.

Technician respondents said that enhanced security services recorded the most growth in the last 12 month. Executives. Said that subscription-based managed services were the top growth area, with enhanced security services ranking second.

MSPs 2023: The State of Mergers and Acquisitions

ChannelE2E tracks hundreds of deals in the managed services, technology services, and cloud services market. In 2022 ChannelE2E tracked 1,046 total deals in the market.

Kaseya’s survey shows that last year only 36% of respondents were interested in participating in some form of M&A activity. This year that number has grown to 51%. Of this 2023 group interested in M&A activities, about 14% said that it is their top growth strategy.

What's Hurting Operations, Productivity?

A lack of integration between solutions is the top answer when it comes to obstacles that hinder daily operations and productivity. Integration, when it worked well, helped MSPs to take on more clients and expand the business, according to 63% of executives. And half of executives -- 49% -- said integration helped them cut costs. Yet 39% of respondents reported that the biggest obstacle to business growth is the inability of technicians to maximize software usage.

What are MSPs’ Top Business Challenges in 2023?

MSP executives (35%) cited acquiring more customers as their top challenge as the MSP space intensifies. Perhaps that’s one reason why so many more are interested in pursuing M&A activities this year. Another big challenge, unsurprisingly, is dealing with advanced and sophisticated security threats (21%)

What is Most Time Consuming?

Break fix is at the top of the list for the most time-consuming activity, reported by 51% of technicians. But it’s not the top of the list for value. It’s only the third most lucrative revenue stream according to executives (39%). Subscription-based managed services are the top revenue generators, cited by 68% of executive respondents and the second most time-consuming activity, as cited by 43% of technicians.

What about Co-Managed Services

Managed services organizations are participating in co-managed services. A full 34% said that they get between 1 and 25% of their revenue from co-managed services, and another 29% said they get between 25 and 50% of their revenue from it.

Jessica C. Davis

Jessica C. Davis is editorial director of CyberRisk Alliance’s channel brands, MSSP Alert, MSSP Alert Live, and ChannelE2E. She has spent a career as a journalist and editor covering the intersection of business and technology including chips, software, the cloud, AI, and cybersecurity. She previously served as editor in chief of Channel Insider and later of MSP Mentor where she was one of the original editors running the MSP 501.